9/5/13 Glendening sees discrepancy between houses we are building and the type buyers want

Governor Glendening described exactly what FoFC has been saying.  The infrastructure needs for a community that is more dense and walkable is less.  And that there is a disconnect between what will sell and what we are building in Frederick County.  FoFC inserted the photos below (they are not part of the FNP article).

Glendening describes mismatch between housing supply, demand

By Bethany Rodgers News-Post Staff | Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 2:00 am

The American dream is changing, and community design must keep up with it, former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening told a Frederick group Wednesday.


Downtown Frederick City, a place to live, work and play.

In a talk focused on smart growth, Glendening said an increasing number of people are eschewing large, single-family houses in the suburbs and instead settling in dense, walkable communities. However, there’s a growing disconnect between the types of housing people want and what’s available on the market, he said.

“Keeping our downtowns strong and keeping our communities economically vibrant in the long term will require a different approach to growth than we have been doing for the last 60 years,” he said during the event at Frederick City Hall.

Two population trends are driving changes in the types of housing people want. For one thing, the nation’s senior population is on the rise, and by the year 2030, almost one in five Americans will be older than 65, Glendening said. Increasingly, older Americans are less inclined to head to Florida or a nursing home upon retirement and are more interested in aging in place. Seniors are now looking for communities where they wouldn’t have to drive and where they’re near stores, activities and health care services.

A large millennial population, made up of people between the ages of 18 and 30, is also shaping the housing needs of the future, Glendening said. These people are starting families later and are driving less, he said. The millennial generation tends to like small-lot homes or attached dwellings that are close to their workplaces and served by transit systems.


Demand is waning for this typical strip mall in a non-walkable community.

In addition, rather than choosing their place of residence based on a job, an increasing number of these individuals are selecting the communities they like and then seeking employment in those areas.  Read the story…

State Planning Secretary corrects lobbyists (FNP letter to the editor)

No fangs in PlanMaryland

I am writing in response to the May 4 column in The Frederick News-Post about lobbyists hired to “defang” PlanMaryland. PlanMaryland wasn’t “defanged,” as the lobbyist put it to the rural counties who retained him. It wasn’t “fanged” in the first place. And its framework has not changed from what was originally laid out.Despite the efforts of those opposing smart growth to characterize PlanMaryland as the “bogeyman,” it is a business plan to guide state agencies to do a better job of aligning programs and policies to prioritize smart growth. 

Its objectives haven’t been altered either: Help curb sprawl that consumes farmland and forest, and that pollutes our local streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay, and promote growth where it is best suited.

If the good citizens hired the lobbyist mentioned in the article to “defang” PlanMaryland, they wasted their hard-earned money.


Richard Eberhart Hall, Maryland Secretary of Planning

Originally published May 15, 2012


Calling all eco-artists, deadline Friday March 23rd!


All entries must be received by Friday, March 23rd!


Help clean Frederick County streams

Write a note to our legislators in Annapolis TODAY!

Concerned about our polluted water in Frederick County? Write your delegate this week!









The Chesapeake Bay and most of Maryland’s rivers and streams are contaminated, which is bad for public health and damages our economy. But for the first time, there is real power in the effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay: Maryland and five other Bay watershed states, and Washington, D.C., are working on a mandatory “pollution diet.”

We’re now more than halfway to the goals we set 20 years ago for a restored Chesapeake Bay. To make sure Maryland finishes the job and meets our “pollution diet,” we are asking our elected officials to take the following actions in 2012:

• Finish upgrading the wastewater treatment plants that Maryland has already committed to upgrade (Senate Bill 240 / House Bill 446)

• Ensure that local governments have resources to reduce polluted stormwater runoff and implement their local clean water plans (Senate Bill 614 / House Bill 987)

• Reduce pollution from poorly planned development – including limiting new septic systems (Senate Bill 236 / House Bill 445)

• Require that all wastewater discharges, including septic systems, are treated at the highest levels to protect public health and ensure clean water (Through Amendments or by Regulation)

All of these investments in clean water will create Maryland jobs – many of which will be local jobs that can’t be outsourced or sent overseas.


Email a note in support of these actions to your delegates in Annapolis:

  • Senator Ron Young,  ronald.young@senate.state.md.us
  • Senator David Brinkley david.brinkley@senate.state.md.us,
  • Delegate Kathy Afzali kathy.afzali@house.state.md.us,
  • Delegate Kelly Schultz kelly.schulz@house.state.md.us
  • Delegate Galen Clagett galen.clagett@house.state.md.us
  • Delegate Don Elliott donald.elliott@house.state.md.us

Thank you!



Do you want a strong plan to clean up our local rivers and streams? If so, submit comments to Maryland officials by March 9th.































Attend a meeting to learn more:

MDE’s surface water quality report available for public review, 2/13-3/26; join public meeting Mar 12, 2012

Maryland Department of the Environment prepares its 2012 Integrated Report in compliance with Clean Water Act

In compliance with Sections 303(d), 305(b), and 314 of the Clean Water Act, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is announcing the availability of the Draft 2012 Integrated Report (IR) of Surface Water Quality for public review and comment.  The public review period will run from February 13 to March 26, 2012. The Draft IR is  posted on MDE’s website,  click here. Hard copies of the Draft IR may be requested by calling Mr. Matthew Stover at (410) 537-3611.

The Department is hosting an informational public meeting and conference call on the IR in Baltimore at 6pm on March 12, 2012.  Any hearing impaired person may request an interpreter to be present at the meeting by giving five (5) working days notice to Matthew Stover at mstover@mde.state.md.us or by calling (410) 537- 3611. Anyone wanting to participate in this meeting via conference call should contact Matthew Stover for instructions. Given enough interest, the Department may schedule additional meetings. Comments or questions should be directed in writing to Mr. Matthew Stover MDE, Science Services Administration, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, Maryland 21230, emailed to mstover@mde.state.md.us, or faxed to the attention of Mr. Matthew Stover at 410-537-3873 on or before March 26, 2012. After addressing all comments received during the public review period, a final List will be prepared and submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval.

Public Meeting Details

Date: March 12, 2012

Start Time: 6:00 pm

Location: MDE Headquarters

Lobby Conference Rooms (to the left after entering the front door)

1800 Washington Blvd

Baltimore, MD  21230

Parking: Red Lot, Front (south) of building


Matthew M. Stover

Natural Resources Planner

Science Services Administration

Maryland Department of the Environment

Montgomery Park Business Center

1800 Washington Blvd, Suite 540

Baltimore, MD 21230-1718

Phone: 410-537-3611

Fax: 410-537-3998




PlanMaryland now in implementation phase

Draft Planning Area Guidelines to help local governments prioritize actions

The draft guidelines are intended to assist local governments in identifying PlanMaryland Planning Areas in their jurisdictions.

The guidelines list the purpose and intent of each Planning Area, a recommended management approach, and location criteria. The guidelines also described the intended objectives of each Planning Area, along with examples that jurisdictions may have used or could pursue. The list is not all inclusive and other examples may be suggested.

MDP encourages comments on the draft guidelines. They will be finalized in March for review and acceptance by the Governor’s Smart Growth Subcabinet. MDP staff is available to meet with those local jurisdictions that would be interested in modeling the draft Planning Area guidelines in their communities prior to March. To arrange a meeting to discuss this, please contact Chuck Boyd at the Maryland Department of Planning –cboyd@mdp.state.md.us.

Read  PlanMaryland here.


Citizen shares cautionary tale about poor infrastructure planning and links to municipal bankruptcy

January 10, 2010

Board of County Commissioners of Frederick County, Maryland

My name is Peter Currer and I am a new resident of Maryland and Frederick County.  I live at the new development, Linton at Ballenger Creek.

First I want to congratulate Frederick County in general for having the planning skills and foresight to collect developer fees or a parcel taxes or user fees or whatever you call your fee for new building in Frederick County.  What it means for me is that as this high-density development, about 775 housing units, is being built the County has the funds necessary to build the needed infrastructure for all the new residents.  A new ‘round about has been built at Elmer Derr and Ballenger Creek to ease traffic flow and sidewalks are being installed on Ballenger Creek Pike for the anticipated pedestrian traffic.  Thank you for charging a fee that I, the buyer pay within the purchase price of my home.  I am glad to pay these fees because I am enjoying the services that I purchased.  I am in my 60’s, I am glad to pay now and get the services now, when they are needed instead of waiting until traffic is impossible or dangerous.  Good Planning!

I am here tonight to speak against the proposed changes to the 2010 Comprehensive Plan and to speak against the addition of 17,000 additional housing units in the County.  I appreciate this chance, my first time here, to speak to the County Commissioners but I must say this is not a Planning Process in any sense of the process as I know it from California where I have lived all my life prior to moving here.

I come tonight to tell a cautionary tale to the Commissioners; my personal experiences from living in Vallejo, California for 25years and watching unlimited and unfunded growth.


Everyone knows the financial mess that California is in.  But you may not know the story of Vallejo, California which is in the San Francisco Bay area.  I lived in Vallejo and worked for the Vallejo City Unified School District. The City of Vallejo is the largest California City to file for municipal bankruptcy.  The Vallejo City Unified School District is in receivership, taken over by the state, one of the few school districts in California to not be able to meet payroll.


There are many reasons for this disaster (and it is a disaster for anyone living in Vallejo or working for the City or the schools) but the one that really sticks out for me is the unlimited and unplanned growth that took place in the 90’s and 2000’s during the boom periods.  Vallejo did not plan well for growth and did not assess development fees to the extent necessary to pay for growth.  It was almost like a Ponzi scheme, each new development paid for the last one.  Then, when the economy crashed real estate values fell and tax income to the City fell and the whole house of cards collapsed.   The EPA came in; the sewer plant was spilling sewage into the bay and required millions of dollars of improvement, money that had to be borrowed.  Then they had to add police and police sub-stations, and then they had to add fire protection and fire stations for them.  None of these expenses were budgeted for, and as the economy went into a bust cycle the city could not pay their costs.  Property values dropped, tax income dropped and the city as well as the school district could not shrink fast enough; bankruptcy followed in 2008.


Five miles away is Benicia, a city with controlled (but not no) growth.  They have had stable real estate values, stable tax revenues and stable schools.  They planed well for their growth and the expenses that are associated with growth and have prospered.

And I just read this week that the Watershed Cleanup Plan could cost almost $4 billion dollars for Frederick County’s share.  Will the proposed added housing add to the cost of the Watershed Cleanup for Frederick County? Perhaps finding a way to pay this expense is the job that this Commission should be working on now, not adding more unfunded housing costs to the county.


12-28-11 FoFC clarifies difference between “smart growth” and “no-growth”

“Old, tired battle” mischaracterized

Originally published December 28, 2011

In a Dec. 21 FNP commentary, Frederick County Commissioner Blaine Young laments that “this old, tired battle of growth versus no growth is not going to get us anywhere.” I agree with Young that we have an “old, tired battle” in Frederick County — but it isn’t about growth versus no growth.The battle is about smart growth vs. sprawl. Smart growth is where homes and businesses are built within walking distance of each other, on public water and sewer, well-planned not to overburden infrastructure and designed to minimize impact on taxpayers. Sprawl is where farmland is converted to car-dependent housing with little or no regard for the burden placed directly on the backs of taxpayers, who typically pay for the majority of roads, schools, fire, police and environmental upgrades needed to support it over the long haul.

There is a real difference between “no growth” and “smart growth.” Young should refer to Frederick County’s 2010 Comprehensive Plan if he wants to understand it. That document plans for the development of retail, commercial and more than 36,000 new homes in Frederick County — following principles to ensure economic prosperity and savings, social benefits and environmental stewardship. That’s smart growth.

Friends of Frederick County has been working on growth issues for seven years. We stand firm in our support of the comprehensive plan growth, have never taken a no-growth position and have never heard citizens ask for no growth.

What we have heard time and time again is people speaking out about overcrowded classrooms, leaky school ceilings, traffic jams, deaths on U.S. 15 north of Frederick, loss of productive farmland and pollution of our streams due to sprawling growth that wasn’t done with good planning or in the right places. Citizens want growth that will improve their quality of life.

Properly characterizing the debate could allow us to “get somewhere,” to use Young’s words. There are indeed barriers to a profitable conversion from the sprawl development paradigm to the smart growth one. The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission through its Rural Growth Subcommittee is looking at ways to make communities attractive for investment — and addressing some of the regulatory, land-cost and infrastructure issues that seem to be the greatest barriers to smart growth success.

If Young spent less time polarizing the community and more time trying to resolve this key debate, we might actually get somewhere by finding profitable solutions for the development community and achieving a good quality of life for all — with clean water, clean air and productive farmland for future generations.

Commissioner Young, are you interested in that?